Industry, agri startups welcome Budget’s focus on strengthening farm sector

The industry on Tuesday welcomed the Budget’s focus on the sector, including developing infrastructure and expanding the role of technology.

“The Budget presented against a backdrop of a strong rebound of the economy has set the foundation for taking
on a sustained higher growth trajectory during the ‘Amrit Kal’ towards India @100,” Syngenta India Chief Sustainability Officer K C Ravi said.

The emphasis on digital infrastructure for infusion of technologies in public private partnership (PPP) mode will be the need of the hour in the next 25 years to combat the serious threat of climate change, he opined.

“Another significant announcement is the emphasis on use of Kisan Drones for crop assessments, land records, spraying of insecticides and micronutrients, which will be a game changer for the agriculture sector. The implementation of Ken-Betwa link worth Rs 44,605 crore covering 9 lakh hectares addresses the critical need of augmenting irrigation capability,” he noted.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday presented the Budget 2022-23 in Parliament that proposed promoting Kisan Drones, chemical-free natural farming, and public-private partnerships for the delivery of digital and high-tech services to farmers across the country.

Godrej Agrovet Managing Director Balram Yadav said it is a balanced Budget that is focused on infrastructure boost, supporting the agriculture sector with incentives and technological fillip.

The decision to revise the syllabus of agricultural universities, and use of Kisan drones for crop assessment, digitisation of land records, and spraying of pesticides is a step in the right direction to modernise the farm sector, he said.

Dhanuka Agritech Group Chairman R G Agarwal said the government’s focus on augmenting infrastructure via the Gati Shakti plan and focus on the promotion of usage of drones for various farm activities is a welcome step and would immensely help the agriculture sector.

“However, it would have been also apt had the Finance Minister… reduced GST and customs duty rates on some of the agro-chemicals products, which would have reduced the overall cost for the farmers,” he added.

Bayer South Asia President and Global Head of Smallholder Farming D Narain said the announcement in this year’s Budget on strengthening the delivery of digital and hi-tech services to farmers through the public-private partnership model will go a long way in improving the scaling up of agri value chains and help Indian farmers reap the benefits of technological advancements.

Rallis India (a subsidiary of Tata Chemicals) MD and CEO Sanjiv Lal said the government took important steps to boost the agricultural sector and it clearly reflects in the Budget proposals.

“The budget has been well thought through aiming to reduce the country’s dependence on imports of oilseeds through a comprehensive scheme to increase domestic production.

“In addition to this, the exemption is also being rationalized on tools for the agri-sector which are manufactured in India. Lastly, the announcement of the fiscal year 2022-23 being the International Year of Millets bring a new ray of light for the farmers,” he added.

The Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) welcomed the announcement made by the finance minister for a comprehensive scheme to increase domestic production of oilseeds to reduce the country’s dependence on import of edible oil.

“We are also given to understand that financial outlay for increasing oilseed production is likely to be adequate to have a meaningful impact .This initiative should go a long way in helping reduce our dependence on edible oil imports, which are likely to be around Rs 1.5 lakh crore during the current year and would be in line with our Prime Minister’s vision of Atmanirbharta,” SEA added.

FMC India president Ravi Annavarapu said provision for capital allocation towards aid for agri and rural start-ups, FPOs and Custom Machinery Hiring Centres for farmers will enhance access of small holder farmers to affordable mechanization.

Samunnati Agro Director Pravesh Sharma opined that the theme of this year’s Budget seems to be incentivising a forward-looking vision for agriculture.

“I appreciate the government’s stance to continue the MSP regime, however, the key would be involving the private sector for building efficiency in MSP procurement. We also expect the government to come up with practical solutions to address the pending demand of farmers to provide a legal guarantee of MSP,” he noted.

Licious co-founder Vivek Gupta said, “I am also hopeful that the co-investment model, facilitated through NABARD to finance start-ups for agriculture and rural enterprise will unlock more opportunities there.”

The capping of the surcharge on the long-term capital gains payable on financial assets, at 15 per cent, is good news for investors in equity shares of start-ups, he added.

AgriBazaar co-founder and CEO Amith Agarwal said one of the key initiatives which will have a ripple effect for the rural economy is the announcement of laying of optical fibre line in villages under the BharatNet project under PPP in 2022-23.

“Similarly, promoting chemical-free natural farming in India is a big step in ensuring healthy produce for Indians and making our agriculture export-ready. Especially for premium markets like Europe, the USA, Japan, etc. Additionally, it will reduce the input expense of the Indian farmer, resurrect soil health, and ensure we take care of mother nature,” he added.

IG International Director of Finance and Operations Tarun Arora said the focus on agriculture is much needed for a country like India.

“However, we were hoping there would be more on the cold chain facility as it’s integral to the perishable supply chain as well. Overall, it is a Budget with an aspiration to revive the economy, which will bring further growth to the economy,” he added.

Asitava Sen, Chief Executive Officer, CropLife India, said, “It is extremely delightful to witness the inclusion of Kisan Drones in the Union Budget 2022-23. The government’s push towards digitalization of agriculture coupled with the focus on hi-tech services would enhance rural entrepreneurship and infuse youth back in the farmlands, boosting the income of the farmers.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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